I grew up horse crazy since the day I was born. I can't remember a moment in my life that I wasn't crazy about horses. Unfortunately, my family did not have money for a horse, and we lived in town. I had to get my horse fix on friends' horses and with surrogate horses--Breyer models.
Of course, my Christmas wishes revolved around a real horse. Even though I knew I'd never get a pony for Christmas, I did have an over-active imagination. So every Christmas eve, I'd fall asleep dreaming of a pony in my front yard when I woke up on Christmas morning with a big bow in his mane. I hoped for a rich golden palomino with a luxurious cream-colored mane and tail--which I knew wasn't going to happen--so I asked for the next best thing.
When Christmas morning came around, I shook boxes and ripped open packages, hoping among hopes that I'd get the latest and greatest Breyer horse models.
Breyer horses dominated my bedroom shelves. I cut up cardboard and made fences on the floor of my bedroom, used boxes for stables, and green rugs for pastures. At one time, my herd numbered over one hundred horses. They all had names. In order to remember them all, I actually put masking tape on their bellies with their names. My all-time favorite was the Man o' War model. Man o'War was my horse idol. I read everything I could get on him. I had C. W. Anderson prints of him and his progeny on my bedroom walls.
I remember getting the Walter Farley book on "Man o' War" for one Christmas and how I loved that book. I also devoured The Black Stallion series. To this day I have every Black Stallion book Walter Farley ever wrote.
To me the perfect Christmas growing up involved a couple Walter Farley books and some new Breyer models. Clothes and dolls were an immense disappointment when it came to gifts. All I wanted was horses, horses, horses.
Over the years, the Breyer horses have been replaced by real horses, but my ideal Christmas gift still revolves around horses. I've never been one to want jewelry. Give me a new bridle, saddle pad, or breeches, maybe a pair of riding boots, and I'll be the happiest woman on earth. Give me diamonds, and I'll pretend to love the jewels. In the end, they'll be in my jewelry box collecting dust because jewelry just isn't practical around horses.
What were your favorite Christmas gifts?